Earlier today I met with our Corps of Cadets in Wicker Chapel in our President's Convocation to give them my thoughts and congratulations as they neared the finish line of this school year. I wanted to share those remarks with you, to let you know how proud I am of these young men here at Fork Union Military Academy.
Thank you for a great year. We started together and we’ll finish together. At the start of each term, I met with the Chaplain in my office and we prayed for every cadet by name.
FUMA is a tough place - I was on active duty as a US Marine Officer and spent most of that time deployed or in combat environments and I learned what tough is. Before FUMA I was at VMI as the Commanding Officer/Professor of Naval Science of the NROTC unit with about 1,500 gifted, and tough Midshipmen. Many became Navy SEALS, nuclear propulsion officers, infantry officers, and Navy and Marine pilots. Like VMI, and the Citadel, FUMA has long days, exacting rules, high standards and an honor code which you must uphold. It’s not easy - It’s not supposed to be easy. FUMA is something you must earn. You have shown that you are tough, and you have earned the title of FUMA Cadet. Keep what you have earned.
We came through COVID this year and everyone is safe. Our average test scores and GPA’s are up from last year. We have many earning scholarships, some attending special programs for this summer, and some enlisting in the military. Thank you for your service. We have very impressive students – some local, some from different states, and some from other countries. You help us better understand the world…and ourselves. Regardless of where you come from, as I reminded you in chapel Thursday, you are wonderfully made by God. I hope we were kind to you, and you know you are part of the FUMA Family for life.
Cadets, I am proud of you. You never know when you’ll run into a FUMA brother. Stay connected for life. Come back to visit and be an active alumnus. Who from amongst you will return to FUMA and continue the legacy of body, mind, and spirit passing it on to the next generation of Cadets? One of you may well be a future President of FUMA. That would make me very proud.
To the faculty, I believe teaching is more than an occupation, it’s a profession and a mission. Thank you for believing in the mission of the academy and your cadets. Thank you for shaping these young men into what they’ll become in body, mind, and spirit. Thank you. I respect you. I am proud of you.
For the staff, you kept us safe, providing for our needs from administration, safety, food, the barracks, washing our clothes and making the campus look so good. You believe in our Cadets and our mission. I respect you for your dedication, hard work and performance. Staff—Thank you. I am proud of you. Cadets, before you leave, you should make the time to look our employees in the eyes, shake their hands and say, “Thank you Ma’am or Sir.”
Let us close in prayer.
Thank you, God, for FUMA. Thank you for each young man, for each faculty and staff member. Thank you for religious freedom. Thank you for your divine protection over us this year. In Jesus name. Amen.
Colonel David L. Coggins, USMC (Ret.)
Fork Union Military Academy